Social Activism by Paul Alan Smith Shows How to Stay Engaged

With the added exposure afforded by the internet and our increasingly interconnected world, the need for engagement in social causes has never been more apparent. However, it is not always clear how an individual can take actionable steps to combat social injustice, especially within the bounds of a traditional workplace. To help our readers navigate this area, we looked to work by Paul Alan Smith, an agent and manager who has focused a large deal of his time on issues pertaining to social activism.

Personal background

Any work to address social issues is typically much more effective when it is personally meaningful to the individual activist. For this reason, it can be helpful to first look at the background of the entertainment professional and to see from where he draws his drive to produce change. As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Paul Alan Smith is no stranger to political and social activism. Since his youth was spent in the San Francisco Bay Area, he became familiar with this work at a very young age and soon understood the power that can come from the concerted efforts of dedicated groups of people.

In addition to his early exposure to activism, he was also introduced to entertainment, in the form of musical theater, at a young age. This provoked a lifelong love of the art form and provided the first inklings of what he wanted to do with his life. These two influences would eventually lead him to move to Los Angeles with the goal of starting a repertory company that could create individual television content aimed at inciting social change. Though the project never materialized in its intended form, the move would help to set the stage for his career in talent representation moving forward.

Bringing people together

There are many components to successfully contributing to lasting change when it comes to social issues, but perhaps one of the most important is one’s ability to bring people together. This type of work not only helps to spread a message that one feels is pressing in nature, it also allows for the energy of many different people to be focused towards a common good. In the present day and age, this type of power is often organized over the internet, via the power of social media. However, earlier forms of this type of organization relied much more heavily on word of mouth and in-person gatherings.

This was an area in which the entertainment professional has thrived, showing a marked ability for bringing people together throughout his life. Perhaps the most pronounced example of this has been his “speaker soirees,” which he began organizing in the early 2000s. These events were inspired by his observation that many progressive gatherings carried with them a high price of entry, essentially excluding less affluent individuals from attending. To remedy this situation, the agent/manager created events where motivated individuals could come together to participate in talks by thought leaders in progressive areas. These no-cost events became wildly popular and helped further the entertainment professional’s goal of inciting lasting social change.

Change in action

Of course, this kind of change requires more than just the attendance of events and talks, it also relies heavily on actions by individuals. In this area, Paul Alan Smith has again shown himself to be a role model for others. Throughout his professional life, he has repeatedly shown an ability to take on efforts within the framework of a particular workplace to further issues of social importance.

One example of this is his effort to promote alternative means of commuting to the office for his coworkers at the agencies at which he has worked. In the course of these activities, he has helped companies establish incentive programs that cover costs or reimburse individuals who commuted to work utilizing methods other than driving solo in a car. The program helped push individuals to utilize public transportation, bicycles, carpool shares, and more. As a result, his workplaces have been able to cut down on the emission of greenhouse gasses and make a contribution to the fight against climate change.

Change moving forward

The type of dogged commitment to social change that has been displayed by Paul Alan Smith has served to set him apart from his peers throughout his career. By viewing the problems confronting society as issues that can be fixed with concerted and collective effort, he has been able to develop a penchant for thinking outside the box in everything that he does. This has led to the implementation of social programs, such as those listed above, but it has also helped color the very manner in which he conducts his work.

The most recent example of this ability has been the creation of his new company — New Deal Mfg. Co. The newly formed venture operates as both a talent agency and a management company, which is a rarity in the typically stratified environment of Hollywood representation. However, this unique setup allows the company to offer a range of additional options to its clients and provides the ability for increased partnerships with other companies. Through this increased access to possibilities, clients are better able to achieve their professional goals and further develop their careers. It’s also another example of the power of the entertainment professional’s firmly held belief that bringing one’s unique skillsets to a problem can result in a host of benefits that might have previously seemed unattainable.

When it comes to issues of social importance, we have reached a never-before-seen level of awareness throughout society. However, many individuals still struggle to find ways to turn their awareness into actionable change. Our above look at the professional work of Paul Alan Smith, and the ways in which he has encouraged social activism, can provide a helpful perspective on how to become more engaged. For further guidance on this issue, look for additional information on the entertainment professional or seek out additional examples of those who have made social change a personal goal in all aspects of their life.

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Paul Alan Smith and the Importance​ of Having a Unique Point of View in Business

Having a unique point of view is an important part of succeeding as an entrepreneur in any part of the economy. This truth strikes to the very core of what entrepreneurialism is — essentially the creation of a business that can solve a problem in a new and unique way. This line of thinking can be so important in determining the relative success of a new business idea that we wanted to take some time to explore it to better enable our readers to find success of their own. To do so, we turned to someone who has made a career out of his unique method of doing things — Paul Alan Smith. A look at the professional life of the agent and manager can give any burgeoning entrepreneur a leg up in their business endeavors.

Unique background

The first thing to look at when examining the work of Paul Alan Smith is how his upbringing and other pursuits have informed his career. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s and 1970s, the entertainment professional had a front-row seat to some of the most pivotal political and societal discussions taking place at that time. Witnessing the activism that grew out of that era not only gave him a healthy appreciation for the power of following one’s ideals, it also instilled in him a lifelong appetite for fighting hard for his beliefs even in the face of overwhelming odds.

The viewpoints of the agent/manager have also been positively influenced by his numerous travels around the world. Those travels have generally come during pivotal moments in his life where he was seeking answers or looking to expand his horizons. These travels took him to areas as far-flung as the Middle East, India, and Africa, and helped him compare ways of life across the globe. This gave him extensive exposure to different societal norms and a healthy appreciation for the ways in which our own culture colors our perception of the world around us. These insights have paid off continuously throughout his sometimes-iconoclastic career.

Importance of experience

The entertainment professional’s latest business endeavor is the recently-formed New Deal Mfg. Co. Operating as both a talent agency and a management company (a rare combination), the firm clearly benefits from the strength of its founder’s ability to go against the grain. This ability, however, would be far less valuable if it wasn’t accompanied by a lifetime of experience in the entertainment industry itself. The importance of his past experience in building present expertise is one of the major lessons that can be drawn from the entrepreneurial success that Smith has achieved over the years.

That success began humbly enough, with a move to Los Angeles in the pursuit of an idealistic dream — the creation of an independent repertory company. Though that pursuit never came to fruition, it did help lead to a career in talent representation. That career began in the mailroom of Triad Artists and quickly progressed to a role as a full-fledged agent. After that, he would move through many other positions in the field of entertainment, including work as a television executive. These varied roles helped to inform him on a diverse range of topics in his profession and given him the confidence to pursue business ideas that may be non-obvious to others.

Embracing uniqueness

As mentioned above, one of the main ways this manifests in his current venture is through his firm’s status as both a talent agency and management company. This unique setup offers numerous benefits to the film and television directors he serves. One of the biggest perks is that the company has increased flexibility to partner with other companies that are already a part of a client’s representation team. This is due to the way in which it can perform the roles of either an agent or manager, depending on a client’s needs.

This example cuts to the core of what accounts for the success of many promising entrepreneurial endeavors — embracing one’s set of strengths. Since any area of business is typically highly competitive, it’s important to utilize those strengths when creating a new venture. These strengths might lead you down a path that is altogether different from the typical way of doing business, but when a new company finds success, that success often depends on the ways in which it is able to set itself apart from competitors. 

Opportunity for expansion

This ability to embrace one’s uniqueness can also pay dividends beyond the immediate success of a business upon its creation, it can also help grow that business in new areas down the line. Looking again to the agent/manager’s career for an example, there are numerous instances of him using his passion for social activism to create positive changes in his workplace environments. 

This has manifested in many different ways, but one stark example is through his work to promote environmentally-sound business practices. This can be seen through his push to create a recycling program in his office during his work as an agent in the 1980s. At that time, these types of recycling programs were rare, but he was able to create the program without financial approval by designing it in a way that paid for itself via a reduction in waste removal costs. This type of outside the box thinking is exactly the kind of skillset that can help entrepreneurs get ahead when they’re seeking to grow a business in new and different ways.

Though some new businesses can just seem like a variation on an existing theme, the power of a unique point of view is unquestionably important in the field of entrepreneurialism. Business professionals who can embrace that thought are often able to break the mold and create something successful in a manner that would otherwise be impossible. In this respect, the work of Paul Alan Smith can be an instructive roadmap for those seeking to build a company of their own. Look to his efforts in this space to see the true power of unique thinking when it’s applied to one’s professional life.

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